Students feel heat of moral policing in cosmopolitan Bengaluru!

Moral Policing

(Needhi Singh)

Bengaluru: The students and young professionals, enrolled in academic institutions or doing jobs, in Bengaluru are often subjected to moral policing by the local residents.

The youths, mostly hailing from small towns, hardly find it easy to enjoy the life at its best at the most evolving cosmopolitan city, as they tend to shape their future as professionals. Their experience of learning and getting exposed to the essence of Bangalore’s culture is not of the kind they perceived it to be, owing to the locals’ authoritative attitude.

Sometimes, the locals seek to control the acts of the students and professionals by way of resorting to physical and verbal abuse. Students say that the locals’ behaviour was not limited to immigrant students but even Kannadiga students are treated the same way.

“The local residents often object to certain actions of students which include feeding stray dogs. They have also complained that students consume liquor and indulge creating public nuisance. They get perturbed so much that some of them even take recourse to the police to make the students and young professionals act according to their wishes,” said a student of a local private University.

To buttress her point, a student said that the residents of a layout near the Christ University, Bennerghatta Road Campus, have written to the Hulimavu Police Station, expressing their displeasure over the acts of students.

Moral Policing

“It is ironical that local people are refusing to be adept to cosmopolitan culture of the city. However progressive the city might seem, students are stared at and harassed, if seen with their partners. In a recent incident last month, a third-year student was allegedly slapped by a resident May at Pai Layout, for dropping and giving a hugging goodbye to his girlfriend at her hostel at night,” said Rashmi, a student from Ranchi.

The residents take the act of demonstrating affection to someone else by walking or hugging one’s partner as a public nuisance. The hostel warden is heavily reprimanded and asked not to let any female student out after 9:30 pm.

Bilal Khan, a second-year student of the Christ University, feels scared to be in the company of the female friends. “For, there could be a strong possibility that the police can come down anytime and pull me up for being with girls. We are aware of the kind restraint that we must exercise in public life. But even the police often take side of the locals and punish the students for no fault. Common and daily anecdotes of students, getting beaten up by the police or locals, make me feel frightened while walking in front of the police stations. Isn’t it ironical that who are supposed to protect us indulging in thrashing the students?”

Moral Policing
Application issued by Mutthuraya Swamy Layout Residents Welfare Association

Some of the students claimed that police personnel generally get involved in petty issues on behest of the local residents to harass them. Citing the petition issued by Mutthuraya Swamy Layout Residents Welfare Association, Alwin Joe Varghese, another student, says “Although the police found no evidence, and neither did it have any legal consequence, the police personnel often find it good reasons to extract monetary gains from students. If they (police wala) see you roaming around any time after 11 pm (which is a perfectly fine time for roaming around, mind it), they will stop you and ask you everything from who are you to why are you here? And it’s month-end, you are double screwed as one would run short of cash to feed them.”

Several students who shared their encounters with the police while walking at night said they tend to seek heavy fines and threaten to file fake marijuana cases against them or call their parents. Several students claim that they have paid an amount of ₹1500-3000 or more just because they were found walking/sitting and talking on the street in the evening/at night.

Students across the city have expressed their rage and raised their voices on various social media platforms, but such incidents are constantly increasing. Utkarsh Singh, a psychology student, expressed his thoughts through a rap called “Students Nahi Safe”, posted by him on Instagram @belihaazi. The question remains how students should deal with such odd situations, when the administration refuses to cooperate with them.

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